By Leong Sze Hian
I refer to the article “MOE announces members of committee reviewing polytechnic and ITE education” (Straits Times, Jan 8).
So many committees to review ITE?
It states that the committee which is responsible to review how the ITE and polytechnics can better connect classroom lessons to the working world, is expected to complete its work in the second half of this year.
Apart from the main committee, another 63 individuals will be part of three review committees and an engagement committee, led by members from the steering committee.
These individuals will look into various aspects, like improving career and academic progression for polytechnic and ITE graduates and strengthening links with industry. The members will be having meetings, study trips to institutions and industries in Singapore and abroad, and sessions to engage with various groups of stakeholders.
My first thought when I read this was whether or not this could be due to the pay being the primary issue?
Highest starting pay in 4 years?
According to the article “ITE graduates get highest starting pay in four years” (Dec 3, 2013), students who graduated from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) last year started their working life with an average monthly salary of $1,646 which is said to be the highest in four years.
Their pay was 18 per cent higher than the $1,391 a month earned by those who graduated in 2009 according to an ITE survey conducted.
In this connection, the data from the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Graduate Starting Salary Table(s) in 2012 tells a very different story from the article.
Real starting pay dropped 10% in 5 years?
The median monthly gross starting salary of ITE fresh graduates in full-time employment increased from $1,217 to $1,350, from 2007 to 2012.
This is an increase of about 11 per cent over the 5 years, or about 2.1 per cent per annum.
Since inflation was about 21 per cent from 2007 (CPI 93.2) to 2012 (CPI 113.1) – does it mean that in real terms – salaries dropped by about 10 per cent over the 5 years or about minus 1.8 per cent per annum?
Isn’t this a far cry from the media reports cited at the beginning of this article which refers to “high” average starting salaries versus median salaries in the MOM report?
Even if so, isn’t the salary of just $1,350 kind of low based on the current standards of living in Singapore?
* consumer price index (CPI)